I get that COVID is making things difficult, but TWO clip shows tonight, Discovery? Granted one is Air Jaws’ greatest breaches and the other is narrated by Snoop Dogg, so that’s the only reason why I’m breaking my “I don’t review clip shows policy” – and they’re also super easy to review, so it makes my job even that much easier.
But it does really speak to the difficulty of filling a week of content when everything is in lockdown. Discovery and National Geographic could have literally done an open call for people to dive with sharks, and there would be a stampede of randos and grad students banging on their door with a pitch: “A bull shark transplanted to a river in Iowa!” “How about if we pit Kendall Jenner and the ghost of Jacques Cousteau in a tagging derby!?” “Something with great whites!” and Discovery wouldn’t be able to do it. Heck, I think only the Maldives and Mexico are letting Americans in right now – and it’s not like Discovery is going to let local camera crews and scientists produce content. After all, they’ve got quality work with Dude Perfect to make happen (I WILL NEVER LET IT GO SO STOP ASKING WHEN I WILL LET IT GO).
So we get clip shows. And tonight, ranking between “The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular” (the best) and Star Trek: The Next Generation’s “Shades of Grey” (the worst), they’re both good! If you have to watch clip shows, you could do a lot worse. More below, but Discovery? When the lockdowns are over, none of all… this.
Make an episode where a shark gets a cell phone, or has a shark ever owned a bear? Maybe there’s a crazy wedding, where something happens do do do do do…
Air Jaws 2020 & Sharkadelic Summer (both 3/5)
So these are both clip shows, and they’re worth watching if for the first hour you like Air Jaws (and I do) and if you want a fluff piece featuring portrait cell phone clips of sharks stealing people’s catch (and I do). For the second hour, if you like Snoop Dogg, bonus (and I do here as well). The Air Jaws hour is actually pretty nifty, because it traces the show from its beginning in 2001 to the modern shows which have had to adjust now that a pair of jerkass orcs killed a lot of the great whites, and the un- or under-regulated fishing fleets of the world work their way through the rest. It’d be a perfect way to kill 40 minutes on a plane ride, and I probably will at some point. Sharkadelic Summer is Snoop doing his best “Damn nature, you scary” between little bits of B-roll that Discovery didn’t know quite what to do with. He’s super enthusiastic about it, and it’s lot of fun to listen to Tha Doggfather lend his voice to shark outreach. Again, not terrible, but also not essential. You’ll enjoy them if you watch them, but if you don’t, you’re not missing any scientific discoveries or anything you haven’t seen before.
Mako Nation (4/5)
I’m a little surprised Discovery didn’t hype this one more, because it’s pretty great. It’s a non-exploitative, bro-heavy, science-y show with some facts about makos (an already under-studied species of pelagic shark) that you probably didn’t know before.
It has some really great footage, some neat tools (I was impressed by both the marlin/swordfish decoy and the shark’s reaction to it) and overall, it’s a solid, worthy hour.
I do have one complaint (SURPRISE!). Riley Elliott, one of the two presenters, talks about the mako shark and it’s relative commonality to New Zealand waters, and mentions how the word “mako” is itself a Māori word for shark. Well… could a Māori have told us that? Maybe give 5 minutes to discuss the cultural importance of sharks to Māori culture? I know I’m howling into the wind on this, but man, come on.
Night 6 coming up! Plus your Sunday binge watch suggestions!